⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Legacy Reserves Inc.⛽️

Even at 95 years old, you can’t get one past Charlie Munger. #Legend.

The Permian Basin in West Texas is where it’s at in the world of oil and gas exploration and production. Per Wikipedia:

As of 2018, the Permian Basin has produced more than 33 billion barrels of oil, along with 118 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This production accounts for 20% of US crude oil production and 7% of US dry natural gas production. While the production was thought to have peaked in the early 1970s, new technologies for oil extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased production dramatically. Estimates from the Energy Information Administration have predicted that proven reserves in the Permian Basin still hold 5 billion barrels of oil and approximately 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

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And it may be even more prolific than originally thought. Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy recently issued a report indicating that Permian projected output was already above 4.5mm barrels a day in May with volumes exceeding 5mm barrels in June. This staggering level of production is pushing total U.S. oil production to approximately 12.5mm barrels per day in May. That means the Permian now accounts for 36% of US crude oil production — a significant increase over 2018. Normalized across 365 days, that would be a 1.64 billion barrel run rate. This is despite (a) rigs coming offline in the Permian and (b) natural gas flaring and venting reaching all-time highs in Q1 ‘19 due to a lack of pipelines. Come again? That’s right. The Permian is producing in quantities larger than pipelines can accommodate. Per Reuters:

Producers burned or vented 661 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in the Permian Basin of West Texas and eastern New Mexico, the field that has driven the U.S. to record oil production, according to a new report from Rystad Energy.

The Permian’s first-quarter flaring and venting level more than doubles the production of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s most productive gas facility, Royal Dutch Shell’s Mars-Ursa complex, which produces about 260 to 270 mmcfd of gas.

The Permian isn’t alone in this, however. The Bakken shale field in North Dakota is also flaring at a high level. More from Reuters:

Together, the two oil fields on a yearly basis are burning and venting more than the gas demand in countries that include Hungary, Israel, Azerbaijan, Colombia and Romania, according to the report.

All of which brings us to Legacy Reserves Inc. ($LGCY). Despite the midstream challenges, one could be forgiven for thinking that any operators engaged in E&P in the Permian might be insulated from commodity price declines and other macro headwinds. That position, however, would be wrong.

Legacy is a publicly-traded energy company engaged in the acquisition, development, production of oil and nat gas properties; its primary operations are in the Permian Basin (its largest operating region, historically), East Texas, and in the Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent regions. While some of these basins may produce gobs of oil and gas, acquisition and production is nevertheless a HIGHLY capital intensive endeavor. And, here, like with many other E&P companies that have recently made their way into the bankruptcy bin, “significant capital” translates to “significant debt.”

Per the Company:

Like similar companies in this industry, the Company’s oil and natural gas operations, including their exploration, drilling, and production operations, are capital-intensive activities that require access to significant amounts of capital.  An oil price environment that has not recovered from the downturn seen in mid-2014 and the Company’s limited access to new capital have adversely affected the Company’s business. The Company further had liquidity constraints through borrowing base redeterminations under the Prepetition RBL Credit Agreement, as well as an inability to refinance or extend the maturity of the Prepetition RBL Credit Agreement beyond May 31, 2019.

This is the company’s capital structure:

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The company made two acquisitions in mid-2015 costing over $540mm. These acquisitions proved to be ill-timed given the longer-than-expected downturn in oil and gas. Per the Company:

In hindsight, despite the GP Board’s and management’s favorable view of the potential future opportunities afforded by these acquisitions and the high-caliber employees hired by the Company in connection therewith, these two acquisitions consumed disproportionately large amounts of the Company’s liquidity during a difficult industry period.

WHOOPS. It’s a good thing there were no public investors in this thing who were in it for the high yield and favorable tax treatment.*

Yet, the company was able to avoid a prior bankruptcy when various other E&P companies were falling like flies. Why was that? Insert the “drillco” structure here: the company entered into a development agreement with private equity firm TPG Special Situations Partners to drill, baby, drill (as opposed to acquire). What’s a drillco structure? Quite simply, the PE firm provided capital in return for a wellbore interest in the wells that it capitalized. Once TPG clears a specified IRR in relation to any specific well, any remaining proceeds revert to the operator. This structure — along with efforts to delever through out of court exchanges of debt — provided the company with much-needed runway during a rough macro patch.

It didn’t last, however. Liquidity continued to be a pervasive problem and it became abundantly clear that the company required a holistic solution to its balance sheet. That’s what this filing will achieve: this chapter 11 case is a financial restructuring backed by a Restructuring Support Agreement agreed to by nearly the entirety of the capital structure — down through the unsecured notes. Per the Company:

The Global RSA contemplates $256.3 million in backstopped equity commitments, $500.0 million in committed exit financing from the existing RBL Lenders, the equitization of approximately $815.8 million of prepetition debt, and payment in full of the Debtors’ general unsecured creditors.

Said another way, the Permian holds far too much promise for parties in interest to walk away from it without maintaining optionality for the future.

*Investors got burned multiple times along the way here. How did management do? Here is one view (view thread: it’s precious):

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  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Sidley Austin LLP (Duston McFaul, Charles Persons, Michael Fishel, Maegan Quejada, James Conlan, Bojan Guzina, Andrew O’Neill, Allison Ross Stromberg)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Seth Bullock, Mark Rajcevich)

    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners (Kevin Cofsky)

    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Wilmington Trust NA, Dalton Investments LLC, Paul Drueke, John Dinkel, Nicholas Mumford)

    • GSO Capital Partners LP

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Adam Goldberg, Christopher Harris, Zachary Proulx, Brett Neve, Julian Bulaon) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Eric English, M. Shane Johnson)

    • DIP Lender: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Orrick LLP (Raniero D’Aversa, Laura Metzger)

    • Prepetition Term Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Gerardo Mijares-Shafai, Seth Kleinman)

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Pryor Cashman (Seth Lieberman, Patrick Sibley, Andrew Richmond)

    • Ad Hoc Group of Senior Noteholders (Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, DoubleLine Income Solutions Fund, J.H. Lane Partners Master Fund LP, JCG 2016 Holdings LP, The John C. Goff 2010 Family Trust, John C. Goff SEP-IRA, Cuerno Largo Partners LP, MGA insurance Company Inc., Pingora Partners LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Stephen Piraino, Michael Pera) & (local) Rapp & Krock PC (Henry Flores)

Updated 7/7/19 #188

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing -- Fusion Connect Inc.

June 3, 2019

We previously wrote about Fusion Connect Inc. ($FSNN), providers of “Unified Communications-as-a-Service” and “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” in “⛈A Dark "Cloud" on the Horizon⛈.” Therein we marveled at how special Fusion must be…to fail SO SPECTACULARLY in today’s cloud here, cloud there, cloud everywhere, everyone’s gaga for cloud environment. Cloud is SO captivating that it wasn’t until the company filed a piss poor 8-K back in April that a B. Riley FBR ($RILY) analyst FINALLY had an epiphany and declared that the company’s stock ought to be downgraded from “buy” to “neutral” (huh?!?) with a price target of $0.75 — down from $9.75/share. This is despite the fact that the stock hadn’t traded anywhere in the vicinity of $9.75/share in ages — nowhere even close, actually — but whatevs. Clearly, his head was in the cloud(s). This, ladies and gentlemen, demonstrates, in a nutshell, the utter worthlessness of equity analyst reports.🖕

But this isn’t a story about shoddy analyst research. That would be wholly unoriginal. This is a story about synergies and burdensome debt. Because, like, that’s so super original that you won’t read of it again until…well…you scroll below to the next bit of content about FTD!! 🙄

Boiled down to its simplest form, this company is the product of an acquisition strategy (and reverse merger) gone wrong. Like, in a majormajor way. Per the company:

The Company pursued the Birch Merger with a vision of leveraging its existing processes and structures to create synergies between Fusion’s and Birch’s joined customer bases, combine network infrastructure assets to improve operational efficiencies, and ultimately drive material growth in Fusion’s and Birch’s combined annual revenue. In connection with the Birch Merger and MegaPath Merger, the Company incurred $680 million in secured debt(emphasis added)

That reverse merger closed at the end of Q2, 2018. Yet…

Unfortunately, due to underperformance compared to business projections, the Company found itself with limited liquidity and at risk of default under its debt documents by early 2019.

Wait, what? Limited liquidity and risk of default by “early 2019”?!? Who the f*ck diligenced and underwrote this transaction?!? This sitch is so bad, that the company literally didn’t have enough liquidity to make a recent $6.7mm amort payment under the first lien credit agreement and a $300k interest payment on its unsecured debt. This is the company’s pre-petition capital structure:

  • $20mm super senior L+10% June 2019 debt

  • $43.3mm Tranche A Term Loans L+6.0% May 2022 debt

  • $490.9mm Tranche B Term Loans L+8.5% May 2023 debt

  • $39mm Revolving Loans L+6.0% May 2022 debt

  • $85mm Second Lien L+10.5% November 2023 debt

  • $13.3mm Unsecured Debt

Back in April we summed up the situation as follows:

The company’s recent SEC reports constitute a perfect storm of bad news. On April 2, the company filed a Form 8-K indicating that (i) a recently-acquired company had material accounting deficiencies that will affect its financials and, therefore, certain of the company’s prior filings “can no longer be relied upon,” (ii) it won’t be able to file its 10-K, (iii) it failed to make a $7mm interest payment on its Tranche A and Tranche B term loan borrowings due on April 1, 2019, and (iv) due to the accounting errors, the company has tripped various covenants under the first lien credit agreement — including its fixed charge coverage ratio and its total net leverage ratio.

Again, who diligenced the reverse merger?!? 😡

So here we are. In bankruptcy. To what end?

The company is seeking a dual-path restructuring that is all the rage these days: everyone loves to promote optionality that will potentially result in greater value to the estate. In the first instance, the company proposes, as a form of “stalking horse,” a “reorganization transaction” backed by a restructuring support agreement with certain of its lenders. This transaction would slash $300mm of the company’s $665mm of debt and result in the company’s first lien lenders owning the company. That is, unless a buyer emerges out of the woodwork with a compelling purchase price. To promote this possibility, the company is filing a bid procedures motion with the bankruptcy court with the hope of an eventual auction taking place. If a buyer surfaces with mucho dinero, the company will toggle over to a sale pursuant to a plan of reorganization. This would obviously be the optimal scenario. Absent that (and maybe even with that), we’ve got a jaw-dropping example of value destruction. “Fail fast,” many in tech say. These cloud bros listened!! Nothing like deep-sixing yourself with a misguided poorly-diligenced acquisition. Bravo!!

The company has secured a commitment for a fully-backstopped $59.5mm DIP that subsumes the $20mm in super senior pre-petition bridge financing recently provided by the first lien lenders. Is this DIP commitment good for general unsecured creditors? Is any of this generally good for unsecured creditors? Probably not.

Major creditors include a who’s who of telecommunications companies, including AT&T Inc. ($T) (first Donald Trump and now THIS…rough week for AT&T), Verizon Communications Inc. ($VZ)XO Communications (owned by VZ), Frontier Communications Corp. ($FTR)(which has its own issues to contend with as it sells assets to sure up its own balance sheet), CenturyLink Inc. ($CTL)Level 3 Communications ($LVLT)Time Warner Inc. ($TWX), and….wait for it…bankrupt Windstream Communications ($WINMQ). Because the hits just keep on coming for Windstream….

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Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Bernstein)

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Gary Holtzer, Sunny Singh, Natasha Hwangpo)

    • Board of Directors: Matthew Rosen, Holcombe Green Jr., Marvin Rosen, Holcombe Green III, Michael Del Guidice, Lewis Dickey Jr., Rafe de la Gueronniere, Neil Goldman)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Mark Katzenstein)

    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners (Brent Herlihy, John Singh)

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc First Lien Lender Group

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Adam Shpeen)

      • Financial Advisor: Greenhill & Co. Inc.

    • DIP Lender: Credit Suisse Loan Funding LLC

    • DIP Agent, Prepetition Super Senior Agent & Prepetition First Lien Agent: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (Michael Messersmith, Sarah Grylll, Alan Glantz)

    • Prepetition Second Lien Successor Agent: GLAS America LLC & GLAS USA LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Tranche A Term Loan/Revolving Lenders

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Sandeep Qusba, Soogy Lee, Edward Linden)

    • Second Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP (Charles Dale, Jon English)

    • Large Unsecured Creditor: AT&T

      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (David Rosenzweig, Francisco Vazquez)

Updated 6/4/19 at 5:42am


New Chapter 11 Filing - Hexion Holdings LLC

Hexion Holdings LLC

April 1, 2019

What we appreciate that and, we hope thanks to PETITION, others will eventually come to appreciate, is that there is a lot to learn from the special corporate law, investment banking, advisory, and investing niche labeled “restructuring” and “distressed investing.” Here, Ohio-based Hexion Holdings LLC is a company that probably touches our lives in ways that most people have no knowledge of: it produces resins that “are key ingredients in a wide variety of industrial and consumer goods, where they are often employed as adhesives, as coatings and sealants, and as intermediates for other chemical applications.” These adhesives are used in wind turbines and particle board; their coatings prevent corrosion on bridges and buildings. You can imagine a scenario where, if Washington D.C. can ever get its act together and get an infrastructure bill done, Hexion will have a significant influx of revenue.

Not that revenue is an issue now. It generated $3.8b in 2018, churning out $440mm of EBITDA. And operational performance is on the upswing, having improved 21% YOY. So what’s the problem? In short, the balance sheet is a hot mess.* Per the company:

“…the Debtors face financial difficulties. Prior to the anticipated restructuring, the Debtors are over nine times levered relative to their 2018 adjusted EBITDA and face annual debt service in excess of $300 million. In addition, over $2 billion of the Debtors’ prepetition funded debt obligations mature in 2020. The resulting liquidity and refinancing pressures have created an unsustainable drag on the Debtors and, by extension, their Non-Debtor Affiliates, requiring a comprehensive solution.”

This is what that capital structure looks like:

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(PETITION Note: if you’re wondering what the eff is a 1.5 lien note, well, welcome to the party pal. These notes are a construct of a frothy high-yield market and constructive readings of credit docs. They were issued in 2017 to discharge maturing notes. The holders thereof enjoy higher priority on collateral than the second lien notes and other junior creditors below, but slot in beneath the first lien notes).

Anyway, to remedy this issue, the company has entered into a support agreement “that enjoys the support of creditors holding a majority of the debt to be restructured, including majorities within every tier of the capital structure.” The agreement would reduce total funded debt by $2b by: (a) giving the first lien noteholders $1.45b in cash (less adequate protection payments reflecting interest on their loans), and 72.5% of new common stock and rights to participate in the rights offering at a significant discount to a total enterprise value of $3.1b; and (b) the 1.5 lien noteholders, the second lien noteholders and the unsecured noteholders 27.5% of the new common stock and rights to participate in the rights offering. The case will be funded by a $700mm DIP credit facility.

*Interestingly, Hexion is a derivative victim of the oil and gas downturn. In 2014, the company was selling resin coated sand to oil and gas businesses to the tune of 8% of sales and 28% of segment EBITDA. By 2016, segment EBITDA dropped by approximately $150mm, a sizable loss that couldn’t be offset by other business units.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Andrew Parlan, Hugh Murtagh, Caroline Reckler, Jason Gott, Lisa Lansio, Blake Denton, Andrew Sorkin, Christopher Harris) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Amanda Steele, Brendan Schlauch)

    • Managers: Samuel Feinstein, William Joyce, Robert Kaslow-Ramos, George F. Knight III, Geoffrey Manna, Craig Rogerson, Marvin Schlanger, Lee Stewart

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company LLC (Zul Jamal)

    • Claims Agent: Omni Management Group (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Noteholders (Angelo Gordon & Co. LP, Aristeia Capital LLC, Barclays Bank PLC, Beach Point Capital Management LP, Capital Research and Management Company, Citadel Advisors LLC, Contrarian Capital Management LLC, Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, DoubleLine Capital LP, Eaton Vance Management, Federated Investment Counseling, GoldenTree Asset Management LP, Graham Capital Management LP, GSO Capital Partners LP, Heyman Enterprise LLC, Hotchkis and Wiley Capital Management LLC, OSK VII LLC, Pacific Investment Management Company LLC, Silver Rock Financial LP, Sound Point Capital Management LP, Tor Asia Credit Master Fund LP, UBS Securities LLC, Whitebox Advisors LLC)

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin, Daniel Fisher, Naomi Moss, Abid Qureshi)

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore Group LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Crossover Noteholders (Aegon USA Investment Management LLC, Aurelius Capital Master Ltd., Avenue Capital Management II LP, Avenue Europe International Management, Benefit Street Partners LLC, Cyrus Capital Partners LP, KLS Diversified Asset Management LLC, Loomis Sayles & Company LP, Monarch Alternative Capital LP, New Generation Advisors LLC, P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP)

      • Legal: Milbank LLP (Samuel Khalil, Matthew Brod)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Ad Hoc Group of 1.5 Lien Noteholders

      • Legal: Jones Day (Sidney Levinson, Jeremy Evans)

    • Pre-petition RCF Agent & Post-petition DIP Agent ($350mm): JPMorgan Chase Bank NA

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

    • Trustee under the First Lien Notes: U.S. Bank NA

      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (James Carr, Kristin Elliott) & (local) Dorsey & Whitney LLP (Eric Lopez Schnabel, Alessandra Glorioso)

    • Trustee of 1.5 Lien Notes: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

    • Trustee of Borden Indentures: The Bank of New York Mellon

    • Sponsor: Apollo

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; Agrium US, Inc.; The Bank of New York Mellon; Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America; PVS Chloralkali, Inc.; Southern Chemical Corporation; Wilmington Trust; Wilmington Savings Fund Society; and Blue Cube Operations LLC

      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (Kenneth Eckstein, Douglas Mannal, Rachael Ringer) & (local) Bayard PA (Scott Cousins, Erin Fay, Gregory Flasser)

      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Samuel Star)

Updated:

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Southcross Energy Partners LP⛽️

Southcross Energy Partners LP

April 1, 2019

We’ve been noting — in “⛽️Is Oil & Gas Distress Back?⛽️“ (March 6) and “Oil and Gas Continues to Crack (Long Houston-Based Hotels)“ (March 24) that oil and gas was about to rear its ugly head right back into bankruptcy court. Almost on cue, Vanguard Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Texas on the last day of Q1 and, here, Southcross Energy Partners LP kicked off Q2.

Dallas-based Southcross Energy Partners LP is a publicly-traded company ($SXEE) that provides midstream services to nat gas producers/customers, including nat gas gathering, processing, treatment and compression and access to natural gas liquid (“NGL”) fractionation and transportation services; it also purchases and sells nat gas and NGL; its primary assets and operations are located in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas, though it also operates in Mississippi (sourcing power plants via its pipelines) and Alabama. It and its debtor affiliates generated $154.8mm in revenues in the three months ended 09/30/18, an 11% YOY decrease.

Why are the debtors in bankruptcy? Because natural gas prices collapsed in 2015 and have yet to really meaningfully recover — though they are up from the $1.49 low of March 4, 2016. As we write this, nat gas prices at $2.70. These prices, combined with too much leverage (particularly in comparison to competitors that flushed their debt through bankruptcy) and facility shutdowns, created strong headwinds the company simply couldn’t surmount. It now seeks to use the bankruptcy process to gain access to much needed capital and sell to a buyer to maximize value. The company does not appear to have a stalking horse bidder lined up.

The debtors have a commitment for $137.5mm of new-money post-petition financing to fund its cases. Use of proceeds? With the agreement of its secured parties, the debtors seek to pay all trade creditors in the ordinary course of business. If approved by the court, this would mean that the debtors will likely avoid having to contend with an official committee of unsecured creditors and that only the secured creditors and holders of unsecured sponsor notes would have lingering pre-petition claims — a strong power move by the debtors.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: $81.1mm funded ‘19 RCF (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $430.875mm ‘21 TL (Wilmington Trust NA), $17.4mm unsecured sponsor notes (Wells Fargo NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Heubner, Darren Klein, Steven Szanzer, Benjamin Schak) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Andrew Remming, Joseph Barsalona II, Eric Moats)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC

    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition RCF & Unsecured Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (William Wallander, Brad Foxman, Matt Pyeatt) & (local) Womble Bond Dickinson US LLP (Ericka Johnson)

    • Prepetition TL & DIP Agent ($255mm): Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Seth Kleinman, Alan Glantz)

    • Post-Petition Lenders and Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Joseph Minias, Paul Shalhoub, Leonard Klingbaum, Debra McElligott) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Matthew Lunn)

    • Southcross Holdings LP

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (Natasha Labovitz)

    • Stalking Horse Bidder:

Updated 9:39 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Windstream Holdings Inc.

Windstream Holdings Inc.

February 25, 2019

See here for our write-up on Winstream Holdings Inc.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Drain)

  • Capital Structure: see below.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Stephen Hessler, Ross Kwasteniet, Marc Kieselstein, Brad Weiland, Cristine Pirro Schwarzman, John Luze, Neda Davanipour)

    • Legal (Board of Directors): Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (Louis Strubeck Jr., James Copeland, Kristian Gluck)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP

    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Lender ($500mm TL, $500mm RCF): Citigroup Global Markets Inc.

    • Prepetition 10.5% and 9% Notes Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Reed Smith LLP (Jason Angelo)

    • Prepetition TL and RCF Agent: JPMorgan Chase Bank NA

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Sandeep Qusba, Nicholas Baker, Jamie Fell)

    • Ad Hoc Group of Second Lien Noteholders

      • Legal: Milbank LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Term Lenders

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Brian Hermann, Andrew Rosenberg, Samuel Lovett, Michael Rudnick)

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore

    • Midwest Noteholders

      • Legal: Shearman & Sterling LLP

    • Uniti Group Inc.

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Huebner, Eli Vonnegut, James Millerman)

      • Financial Advisor: Rothschild & Co.

    • Large Unsecured Creditor: AT&T Corp.

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Brian Lohan, Ginger Clements, Peta Gordon) & AT&T (James Grudus)

    • Large Unsecured Creditor: Verizon Communications Inc.

      • Legal: Stinson Leonard Street LLP (Darrell Clark, Tracey Ohm)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (AT&T Services Inc., Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO CLC, VeloCloud Networks Inc., Crown Castle Fiber, LEC Services Inc., UMB Bank)

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Brett Miller, Todd Goren, Jennifer Marines, Erica Richards)

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New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Gastar Exploration Inc.

Gastar Exploration Inc.

October 31, 2018

The fallout from the oil and gas downturn appears to have a long tail.

Gastar Exploration Inc. ($GST), an oil and natural gas exploration and production company focused on shale resource plays in Oklahoma filed a prepackaged bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas.

For anyone looking for a short primer on what exactly transpired in oil and gas country upon the 2014 downturn in commodity prices is in luck: the company provides a succinct explanation in its bankruptcy filings. It notes:

The market difficulties faced by the Debtors are consistent with those faced industry-wide. Oil and gas companies and others have been challenged by low natural gas prices for years. Since January 2014, natural gas prices fell from a peak of $5.39 per MMBtu in January 2014 to $1.73 per MMBtu by March 2016, and remain at approximately $3.17 per MMBtu. The price of crude oil has similarly plummeted from a high of $107.26 per barrel in June 2014 to a low of $29.64 per barrel in January 2016. Crude oil prices remain at approximately $67 per barrel. Additionally, NYMEX futures curves for both natural gas and crude oil are backward dated, indicating an expectation among real-money traders in the derivatives market that these commodity prices are expected to decline over the next several years.

These market conditions have affected oil and gas companies at every level of the industry around the world. All companies in the oil and gas industry (not just E&P companies) have felt these effects. However, independent oil and gas companies have been especially hard-hit, as their revenues are generated from the sale of unrefined oil and gas. Over 160 oil and gas companies have filed for chapter 11 since the beginning of 2015. Numerous other oil and gas companies have defaulted on their debt obligations, negotiated amendments or covenant relief with creditors to avoid defaulting, or have effectuated out-of-court restructurings.

The Debtors were not immune to these macro-economic forces.

With hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, the company managed to avoid a bankruptcy filing during that time. This is primarily due to a 2017 refinancing transaction that it consummated with Ares Management LLC pursuant to which the company took on new first lien term loans, new second lien converts, and obtained a $50mm equity investment from Ares. The capital structure, at the petition date, is comprised of these term loans and converts. The company intended the new financing to help it weather the downturn and bridge it to a more favorable operational performance and capital markets environment. Alas, it’s in bankruptcy. So, we guess we know how those intentions played out in reality. Indeed, the company experienced significant operational challenges that resulted in a decreased in well production performance — a result that came to pass only after the company incurred the costs of production. Sheesh.

Now the company seeks, in partnership with Ares, to push through a speedy chapter 11 bankruptcy that would have the effect of deleveraging the balance sheet by approximately $300mm, handing all of the equity to Ares (on account of their second lien notes claims), and wiping out the preferred and common equity — which would only be entitled to warrants in reorganized Gastar if they don’t object to the restructuring or seek the appointment of an official committee of equity security holders. Which in the case of both common equityholders (Fir Tree Capital Management LP & York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC) and preferred equityholders…uh…is exactly what they’re doing. Clearly those warrants weren’t much of a carrot. And Judge Isgur happens to have previously demonstrated a soft spot in his heart for equity committees. See, e.g., Energy XXI.

Prior to the first day hearing, Fir Tree and York (by attorneys Quinn Emanuel - a sign of seriousness) filed an emergency motion seeking the appointment of an equity committee alleging, among other things, that the company’s plan is a pure Ares jam fest. They seek an investigation of Ares’ actions (including the refinancing transaction), citing the Energy XXI case, and noting in the process that with unsecured creditors riding through the plan, there is no viable adversary to the debtor other than the zeroed-out equity. Which makes this a private equity vs. hedge fund hootenanny!

Subsequently, an ad hoc committee of preferred stockholders filed a motion joining the arguments of Fir Tree and York, noting, however, that as a preferred equity they’re liquidation preference trumps the interest of the common stockholders. They, too, want an investigation into Ares’ involvement in these cases.

A hearing is scheduled for later this week.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)

  • Capital Structure: see below (+$13.3mm in hedging obligations).     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Ross Kwasteniet, Anna Rotman, John Luze, Ciara Foster, Brett Newman) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Financial Advisor: Dacarba LLC

    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners LP (Kevin Cofsky)

    • Claims Agent: BMC Group (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Financial Sponsor: Ares Management LLC

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Paul Aronzon, Thomas Kreller, Robert Liubicic, Haig Maghakian)

    • Minority Shareholders: Fir Tree Capital Management LP & York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC

      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Emily Smith, K. John Shaffer, Benjamin Finestone, Kate Scherling)

    • Ad Hoc Committee of Preferred Stock Holders (Aedes LLC)

      • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Paul Silverstein, David Zdunkewicz, Brian Clarke, Timothy Tad Davidson II)

    • DIP Agent & TL Agent: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Christopher Odell, Hannah Sibiski, Brian Lohan, Seth Kleinman)

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

New Chapter 11 Filing - Gibson Brands Inc.

Gibson Brands Inc.

5/1/18

After months of speculation (which we have covered here and elsewhere), the famed Nashville-based guitar manufacturer has finally filed for Chapter 11. We're old enough to remember this:

Late Tuesday, GIbson Brands CEO Henry Juszkiewicz denied all of the reports and indicated via press release that a plan was underway to salvage the brand.

What Mr. Juszkiewicz didn't say was that "a plan" actually meant a "plan of reorganization." Which is okay: nobody believed him anyway. 

And here's why: in the company's First Day Declaration, the company proudly boasts,

The Debtors' strength, rooted in their iconic Gibson, Epiphone, KRK, and other brands that have shaped the music industry for over 100 years, have been the brands of choice for countless musicians and recording artists, including some of the most legendary guitarists in history such as Muddy Waters, BB King, Elvis Presley, Pete Townsend, Keith Richards, Duane Allman, Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Slash, Dave Grohl, Joe Bonamassa, and Brad Paisley, among others. 

Anyone else see an issue with this lineup? Legends, sure, but not exactly a group of artists you see listed on Coachella posters. Even in a publicly-available document, this company doesn't know how to market itself to the masses. Case and point, after Guitar Center got its out-of-court deal done last week, we wrote the following:

Gibson may want to embrace the present. But we digress. 

Unbeknownst to many, however, Gibson is more than just its legendary guitars. No doubt, guitars are a big part of its business. According to the company's First Day Declaration (which, for the record, is one of the more jumbled incoherent narratives we've seen in a First Day Declaration in some time), 

Gibson has the top market share in premium electric guitars, selling over 170,000 guitars annually in over eighty (80) countries worldwide and selling over 40% of all electric guitars priced above $2,000.

But the company also expanded to include a "Professional Audio" segment, its musical instrument and pro-audio segment ("MI," which is positive cash flow), and a "Gibson Innovations" business ("GI"), which stems from a 2014 leveraged transaction. The latter business has been a drag on the overall enterprise ever since the transaction eventually leading to breaches of certain financial covenants under the company's senior secured bank debt financing agreements. The company was forced to pay down the debt to the tune of $60 million since the Fall of 2017, a cash drain which severely accentuated liquidity issues within that business. It came to this brutal reality: 

...the GI Business became trapped in a vicious cycle in which it lacked the liquidity to buy inventory and drive sales while at the same time it lacked the liquidity to rationalize its workforce to match its diminished operations.

That's rough. Even rougher is that on April 30, 2018, the GI business initiated formal liquidation proceedings under the laws of at least 8 different countries. Looks like Mr. Juszkiewicz' previous expansion "plan" was an utter disaster. 

⚡️Warning: Geeky stuff to follow ⚡️:

Now, the company is left with restructuring around the EBITDA- positive MI business with the hope of maximizing recovery for stakeholders. The holders of 69% of the principal amount of notes (PETITION NOTE: for the uninitiated, this satisfies the 2/3 in amount requirement of the bankruptcy code; unknown whether they satisfy the second prong of 1/2 in number) have entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement which would effectively equitize the notes and transfer ownership of MI to the noteholders. The company has also entered into a $135 DIP credit facility backstopped by an ad hoc group of noteholders to finance the company's trip through bankruptcy (the mechanic of which effectively rolls up some of the prepetition debt into the postpetition facility, giving the noteholders higher distribution priority). 

The RSA envisions a transaction whereby the company will exit bankruptcy with an untapped asset-backed lending facility and enough exit financing to pay off the DIP facility. So, the noteholders will collect some nice fees for about 9 months. The lenders under the DIP facility will have the option to cover the DIP monies into equity in the reorganized company at a 20% discount to the plan's valuation. 

⚡️Geeky Stuff Over. Now Back to Regularly Scheduled Snark ⚡️:

Naturally, current management has somehow convinced the new owners, i.e., the funds converting their notes into equity, that they're so invaluable that they should receive millions in "transition"-based compensation and warrants for upside preservation. Makes total sense. David Berryman, who runs Epiphone, will get a one year employment agreement paying $3.35 million, 5 year-warrants, and health benefits; Mr. Juszciewicz will get a one year "consulting agreement" paying $2.1 million, 5 year-warrants and health benefits (plus other profit-sharing incentives). It sure pays to run a company into bankruptcy these days. Naturally, they'll also get releases from any liability. Because, you know, bankruptcy!!

One final note: Thomas Lauria and White & Case LLP are listed as the 22nd highest creditor. Popping popcorn. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $17.5 million ABL (Bank of America NA)/ $77.4 million Term Loan (GSO Capital Solutions Fund II AIV-I LP), $375 million '18 8.875% senior secured notes (Wilmington Trust NA), $60 million ITLA loan (GI Business only)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP (Michael H. Goldstein, Gregory W. Fox, Barry Z. Bazian) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Stratton, David Fournier, Michael Custer, Marcy McLaughlin)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Brian Fox) 
    • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Jeffrey Finger)
    • Independent Directors: Alan Carr & Sol Picciotto
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (D. Tyler Nurnberg, Steven Fruchter, Sarah Gryll) & (local) Young Conaway (same four names as below)
    • Prepetition ABL Agent: Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Jason Bennett, Christina Wheaton)
    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA
      • Legal: Shipman & Goodwin LLP (Marie Hofsdal, Patrick Sibley, Seth Lieberman, Eric Monzo)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders
      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Brian Hermann, Robert Britton, Adam Denhoff, Kellie Cairns) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Sean Greecher, Andrew Magaziner, Betsy Feldman)
    • Ad Hoc Minority Noteholders Committee (Lord Abbett & Co. LLC, Wilks Brothers LLC)
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Steven Levine, Brian Rice) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (William Bowden)
    • Equity Holder: GSO Capital Partners LP
      • Legal: White & Case LLP (J. Christopher Shore, Andrew Zatz, Richard Kebrdle) & (local) Fox Rothschild LLP (Jeffrey Schlerf, Carl Neff, Margaret Manning)

Updated 5/2 5:12 pm CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - iHeartMedia Inc.

iHeartMedia Inc.

3/14/18

iHeartMedia Inc., a leading global media company specializing in radio, outdoor, mobile, social, live media, on-demand entertainment and more, has filed for bankruptcy -- finally succumbing to its $20 billion of debt ($16 billion funded) and $1.4 billion of cash interest in 2017. WOWSERS. The company purports to have "an agreement in principle with the majority of [its] creditors and [its] financial sponsors that reflects widespread support across the capital structure for a comprehensive plan to restructure...$10 billion..." of debt.

The company notes $3.6 billion of revenue and unparalleled monthly reach ((we'll have more to say about this in this Sunday's Members-only newsletter (3/18/18) - this claim deserves an asterisk)). 

Still, as it also notes, the company faces significant headwinds. It states in its First Day Declaration,

"Among other factors, the global economic downturn that began in 2008 resulted in a decline in advertising and marketing spending by the Debtors’ customers, which resulted in a corresponding decline in advertising revenues across the Debtors’ business. Then, as the economy recovered, the Debtors’ industry faced new and intense competition from the rapidly-growing internet and digital advertising industry and the entry of on-demand streaming services, both of which siphoned off the share of advertiser revenues allocated by agencies and brands to broadcast radio. The Debtors have taken various operational steps to stem the negative effect of these trends; among other initiatives, the Debtors have successfully developed emerging platforms including its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital platform and nationally-recognized iHeartRadio-branded live events that are audio and video streamed and televised nationwide."

The company ought to expect these trends to continue.

Large creditors include Cumulus Media Inc. (~$5.6 million...yikes) and Spotify (~$2 million).  

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas
  • Capital Structure:    
Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 2.28.26 PM.png

 

  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Anup Sathy, Brian Wolfe, William Guerrieri, Christopher Marcus, Stephen Hackney, Richard U.S. Howell, Benjamin Rhode, AnnElyse Gibbons) & Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh, Jennifer Wertz)
    • Financial Advisor to the Company: Moelis & Co. 
      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (Caroline Reckler, Matthew Warren)
    • Restructuring Advisor to the Company: Alvarez & Marsal LLC
    • Legal for the Independent Directors: Munger Tolles & Olson LLP (Kevin Allred, Seth Goldman, Thomas Walper, John Spiegel)
    • Financial Advisor to the Independent Directors: Perella Weinberg Partners LP
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Large Equity Holders: Bain Capital & Thomas H. Lee Partners
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matthew Barr, Christopher Lopez, Gabriel Morgan)
    • Potential Buyer: Liberty Media Corporation & Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Stephen Karotkin, Ray Schrock, Alfredo Perez)
    • Successor Trustee for the 6.875% '18 Senior Notes and 7.25% '27 Senior Notes: Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB
      • Legal: White & Case LLP (Thomas Lauria, Jason Zakia, Erin Rosenberg, J. Christopher Shore, Harrison Denman, Michele Meises, Mark Franke, Michael Garza) & Pryor Cashman LLP (Seth Lieberman, Patrick Sibley, Matthew Silverman) & (local) Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP (Robin Russell, Timothy A. Davidson II, Ashley Harper)
    • Successor Trustee for the 11.25% '21 Priority Guaranty Notes
      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Eric Wilson, Benjamin Feder, Kristin Elliott)
    • Successor Trustee for the 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021
      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright (US) LLP (Jason Boland, Christy Rivera, Marian Baldwin Fuerst)
    • Term Loan/PGN Group
      • Legal: Jones Day (Thomas Howley, Bruce Bennett, Joshua Mester)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Term Loan Lenders
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Michael Messersmith, Tyler Nurnberg, Sarah Gryll, Christopher Odell, Hannah Sibiski) 
    • TPG Specialty Lending Inc.
      • Legal: Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (Adam Harris, David Hillman, James Bentley) & (local) Jones Walker LLP (Joseph Bain, Laura Ashley) 
    • Special Committees of the Board of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.
      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Matthew Feldman, Paul Shalhoub, Christopher Koenig, Jennifer Jay Hardy)
    • Ad Hoc Committee of 14% Senior Noteholders of iHeart Communications
      • Legal: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Robert Klyman, Matt Williams, Keith Martorana, Matthew Porcelli) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Aaron Power, Samuel Spiers)
    • 9.00% Priority Guarantee Notes due 2019 Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA
      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Jayme Goldstein, Daniel Fliman, Brian Wells) & (local) Haynes and Boone, LLP (Charles Beckham Jr., Martha Wyrick, Kelsey Zottnick)
    • Citibank N.A.
      • Legal: Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (Joel Levitin, Richard Stieglitz Jr.) & (local) Locke Lord LLP (Berry Spears)
    • Delaware Trust Company
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Benjamin Finestone, K. John Shaffer, Monica Tarazi, Victor Noskov)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin, Naomi Moss, Charles Gibbs, Marty Brimmage)

Updated 3/30/18

New Chapter 11 Filing - Orexigen Therapeutics Inc.

Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. 

3/12/18

Orexigen Therapeutics is a publicly-traded ($OREX) biopharmaceutical company with one FDA-approved product - "Contrave" - an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise for chronic weight management in certain eligible adults. (Before we continue, please take a minute to appreciate the exquisite creativity these folks deployed with the name, "Contrave." Control + crave = Contrave. We hope they didn't shell out too much cash money to the brand consultants for that one). 

Anyway, the drug could theoretically service the 36.5% of adults the Center for Disease Control & Prevention has identified as obese, a potential market of 91-93 million people in the United States alone. And that number is predicted to rise to 120 million people in the next several years. Yikes: that's 33% of the U.S. population. Apropos, the drug is the number one prescribed weight-loss brand in the US with over 1.8 million prescriptions written to date, subsuming 700,000 patients. The drug is also approved in Europe, South Korea, Canada, Lebanon, and the UAE. 

All of that surface-level success notwithstanding, the company has lost approximately $730 million since its inception. This is primarily because it has been spending the last 16 years burning cash on R&D, clinical studies for FDA approval, recruitment, manufacturing, marketing, etc., both in and outside the U.S. And people wonder why drugs are so expensive. The company believes it could be profitable by 2019 under its existing operating model and revenue forecasts; it enjoys a patent until 2030. 

Obviously the patent is critical because the company, through its banker, attempted a sale prior to the bankruptcy filing but proved unsuccessful. The goal of the bankruptcy filing, therefore, is to effectuate a sale with the benefit of "free and clear" status. While no stalking horse bidder is lined up, The Baupost Group LLC, is leading a group of secured noteholders (including Ecori Capital, Highbridge Capital and UBS O'Connor) to provide a $35 million DIP credit facility and buy the company some time. Will they end up owning it? 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $165mm 0% '20 convertible notes (The Baupost Group LLC), $115mm 2.75% '20 convertible notes ($25 million outstanding, Wilmington Trust NA), $49.6mm 2.75% '20 convertible exchange senior notes ($38.9 million outstanding, US Bank NA) 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Hogan Lovells LLP (Christopher Donolo, Eric Einhorn, Christopher Bryant, Jon Beck, Sean Feener) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Andrew Remming, Jose Bibiloni)
    • Financial Advisor: E&Y
    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners 
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Collateral Agent & Prepetition Trustee: U.S. Bank NA
      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (James Carr, Benjamin Feder)
    • DIP Lenders
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Eric Winston)
    • DIP Administrative Agent: Wilmington Trust Company
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter (Tyler Nurnberg)
    • DIP Lender: Highbridge Capital Management LLC
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Stephen Levine, Uchechi Egeonuigwe) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLC (Christopher Samis, L. Katherine Good, Aaron Stulman)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Elliott Greenleaf PC (Rafael Zahralddin-Aravena, Eric Sutty) & (local) Irell & Manella LLP (Jeffrey Reisner, Michael Strub Jr., Kerri Lyman)

Updated March 30, 2018

New Chapter 11 Filing - Tops Holding II Corporation

Tops Holding II Corporation

  • 2/21/18 Recap: When a company's "Overview" in its First Day Declaration basically leads with union metrics (12,300 unionized employees of 14,000 total employees) and collective bargaining agreement numbers (12 of them), you know there's gonna be a war with employees. The fact that the footprint is 169 stores-wide in three states almost seems like a footnote. As does the fact that the business started in the 1920s and seemingly thrived through 2007 when, naturally, private equity got involved and went on a debt-ridden acquisition spree. But hang on: we're getting ahead of our skis here. So, what happened here? Well, clearly, the company has to negotiate with its unions; it also seeks to deleverage its ballooning balance sheet and take care of some leases and supply agreements. The company has secured $265mm in DIP financing to fund the cases; it says that it "intend[s] to remain in chapter 11 for approximately six (6) months." We'll believe it when we see it. Anyway, WHY does it need to take all of these steps? Well, as we stated before: private equity, of course. "Despite the significant headwinds facing the grocery industry, over the past five years, the Company has experienced solid financial performance and has sustained stable market share. The vast majority of the Company’s supermarkets generate positive EBITDA and the Company generates strong operating cash flows. Transactions undertaken by previous private equity ownership, however, saddled the Company with an unsustainable amount of debt on its balance sheet. Specifically, the Company currently has approximately $715 million of prepetition funded indebtedness...." Ah, private equity = a better villain than even Amazon (though Amazon gets saddled with blame here too, for the record). But wait: don't forget about the pensions! "[T]he Company has been embroiled in a protracted and costly arbitration with the Teamsters Pension Fund concerning a withdrawal liability of in excess of $180 million allegedly arising from the Company’s acquisition of Debtor Erie Logistics LLC" from its biggest food supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., the 10th largest private company in the US. Moreover, the company has been making monthly pension payments; nevertheless, the pension is underfunded by approximately $393mm. The company continues, "Utilizing the tools available to it under the Bankruptcy Code, the Company will endeavor to resolve all issues relating to the Teamsters Arbitration and address its pension obligations, and the Company will take reasonable steps to do so on a consensual basis." Oy. What a hot mess. We can't even read that without ominous music seemingly popping up out of nowhere. More to come.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York

  • Capital Structure: $112mm RCF (inclusive of a $10mm FILO and $34mm LCs, Bank of America NA), $560mm 8% '22 senior secured notes, $67.5mm 9% '21 opco unsecured notes, $8.6mm 8.75%/9.5% '18 holdco unsecured notes

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Ray Schrock, Stephen Karotkin, Sunny Singh)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: FTI Consulting Inc. (Michael Buenzow, Armen Emrikian, Paul Griffith, Ronnie Bedway, Andy Kopfensteiner)

    • Investment Banker: Evercore (David Ying, Stephen Goldstein, Jeremy Matican, Elliot Ross, Jonathan Kartus, Andrew Kilbourne)

    • Real Estate Advisor: Hilco Real Estate LLC

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition ABL Agent & DIP ABL Agent: Bank of America NA

      • Legal Counsel: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Julia Frost-Davies, Amelia Joiner, Matthew Ziegler)

    • Indenture Trustee for Senior Notes due 2018, notes due 2021 and Senior Secured Notes: U.S. Bank NA

      • Legal: Thompson Hine LLP (Irving Apar, Elizabeth Frayer, Derek Wright)

    • Ad Hoc Noteholder Group & DIP TL Lenders (Column Park Asset Management LP, Fidelity Management & Research Company, HG Vora Capital Management LLC, Signature Global Asset Management, Silver Point Capital LP)

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Alan Kornberg, Diane Meyers, Lauren Shumejda)

      • Financial Advisor: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC

    • DIP TL Agent: Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Tyler Nurnberg, Alan Glantz)

    • Southpaw Asset Management LP

      • Legal: Cooley LLP (Jeffrey Cohen, Steven Siesser, Sheila Sadighi, Andrew Behlmann)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (PepsiCo, Inc., Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., Osterweis Strategic Income Fund, U.S. Bank N.A., the UFCW Local One Pension Fund, the Teamsters Local 264, and Benderson Development Company, LLC)

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Brett Miller, Dennis Jenkins, Jonathan Levine, Erica Richards)

      • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Cumulus Media Inc.

Cumulus Media Inc.

  • 11/29/17 Recap: It has become routine for a company to tout the synergistic benefits of an acquisition. But synergies only come from solid execution and integration of the new properties into the existing franchise. As we often see, that's a pipe dream that often fails to come to fruition. Take, Cumulus Media, for instance, which from 1998 through 2013, "completed approximately $5 billion worth of acquisitions to grow its network and station businesses," including two large recent acquisitions (Citadel Broadcasting in 2011 and Westwood One in 2013). Notably, "[t]he Company struggled to develop the management and technology infrastructure required to integrate the acquired assets and to support and manage its expanding portfolio. Additionally, certain of the acquisition projections proved erroneous and a number of subsequent management decisions failed to achieve their desired results. The Company was thus unable to achieve the cash flow projections it had made to support the prices paid for those acquisitions...." Projections didn't translate to reality? Color us shocked. Combine these operational challenges with "industry challenges" and you've got a recipe for decreased YOY trends in ratings, revenue and EBITDA. Since 2012. Yikes. But like most bankruptcies, this is a storm of multiple elements. Clearly, the above-noted transactions led to a tremendous amount of incurred debt, capex for integration, and interest expense on that debt. But, in addition, "advertiser and listener demand for radio overall has been negatively impacted by the availability of content and advertising opportunities in growing digital streaming and web-based digital formats, resulting in declines in radio industry revenue and listenership. As a result of these general industry pressures, high acquisition prices and subsequent poor performance, Cumulus Media found itself with an excessive level of debt relative to its earnings and rapidly approaching maturities on its funded debt." So, in other words, blame the debt, Facebook ($FB), Google ($GOOGL), Netflix ($NFLX), Amazon ($AMZN), podcasts, etc., for the decline in radio consumption. So, now the company is in bankruptcy with a restructuring support agreement in place to equitize the term loan. The term loan lenders will get take-back paper and 83.5% percent of the reorganized company. The noteholders will get 16.5% of the equity subject to management incentive plan. Shareholders will get bupkis. 
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Chapman)
  • Capital Structure: $1.73b TL (JP Morgan Chase Bank NA), $637mm 7.75% senior notes (U.S. Bank NA)   
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Paul Basta, Lewis Clayton, Jacob Adlerstein, Claudia Tobler)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (David Miller)
    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Board of Directors: Mary Berner, Jill Bright, Ralph Everett, Jeffrey Marcus, Ross Oliver, Jan Baker
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Group of Term Loan Lenders (Eaton Vance Management and Boston Management & Research, Franklin Mutual Advisors, Highland Capital Management LP, JP Morgan Chase Bank NA, Silver Point Finance LLC, Symphony Asset Management LLC and Nuveen Fund Advisors, Voya Investment Management Co. LLC, Beach Point Capital Management LP)
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Michael Messersmith, Michael Solow, Seth Kleinman)
      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting LLC
    • Ad Hoc Senior Noteholder Group (Angelo Gordon & Co. LLP, Brigade Capital Management, Capital Research and Management Co., Greywolf Capital Management LP, Waddell & Reed Investment Corporation)
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Michael Stamer, Meredith Lahaie, Abid Qureshi, Kate Doorley)
    • Administrative Agent: JP Morgan Chase Bank NA
      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Elisha Graff, Nicholas Baker)

Updated 11/30/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy & CCAA - Toys "R" Us Inc.

Toys "R" Us Inc.

  • 9/19/17 Recap: So. Much. To. Unpack. Here. We've previously discussed the run-up to this massive chapter 11 bankruptcy filing here and here. Still, suffice it to say that, unlike many of the other retailers that have predictably filed for bankruptcy thus far in 2017, this one was different. This one seemingly came out of nowhere - particularly given the proximity to the holiday shopping season. Before we note what this case is, lets briefly cover what it isn't and clear the noise that is pervasive on the likes of Twitter: this is NOT "RIP" Toys "R" Us. We don't get overly sentimental usually but the papers filed with the bankruptcy court were well-written and touching: this is a store, a brand, that means a lot to a lot of people. And it's not going anywhere (the company will have its challenges to assure people that this is the case). This is a financial restructuring not a liquidation: the company simply hasn't been able to evolve while paying $400mm in annual interest expense on over $5b of private equity infused debt. Plain and simple. Yes, there are other challenges (blah blah blah, Amazon), but with that debt overhang, it appears the company hasn't been able to confront them (PETITION side note: an ill-conceived deal with Amazon 18 years ago is mind-blowing when viewed from the perspective of Amazon's long game). With this filing, the company is signaling that the time for short term band-aids to address its capital structure is over. Now, "[t]he time for change, and reinvestment in operations, has come." Decisive. Management isn't messing around anymore. With a reduction in debt, the company will be unshackled and able to focus on "general upkeep and the condition of...stores, [its] inability to provide expedited shipping options, and [its] lack of a subscription-based delivery service." Indeed, the company intends to use a $3.1b debtor-in-possession credit facility to begin investing in modernization immediately.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • Toy Manufacturers: Mattel ($MAT)(approx $136mm), Hasbro ($HAB) (approx $59mm) & Lego (approx $31.5mm) are among the top general unsecured creditors of the company. Mattel and Hasbro's stock traded down quite a bit yesterday on the rampant news of this filing. Query whether any of the $325mm of requested critical vendor money will apply to these companies.
    • The Power of the Media (read: NOT "fake news"): This CNBC piece helped push the company into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy professionals were retained in July (or earlier in the case of Lazard) to pursue capital structure solutions. In August the company engaged with some of its lenders. But then "...a news story published on September 6, 2017, reporting that the Debtors were considering a chapter 11 filing, started a dangerous game of dominos: within a week of its publication, nearly 40 percent of the Company’s domestic and international product vendors refused to ship product without cash on delivery, cash in advance, or, in some cases, payment of all outstanding obligations. Further, many of the credit insurers and factoring parties that support critical Toys “R” Us vendors withdrew support. Given the Company’s historic average of 60-day trade terms, payment of cash on delivery would require the Debtors to immediately obtain a significant amount—over $1.0 billion—of new liquidity." 
    • Revenue. The company generates 40% of its annual revenue during the holiday season.
    • Footprint. The company has approximately 1,697 stores and 257 licensed stores in 38 countries, plus additional e-commerce sites in various countries. The company has been shedding burdensome above-market leases and combining its Babies and Toys shops under one roof; it intends to continue its review of its real estate portfolio. Read: there WILL be store closures.
    • Eff the Competition. Toys has some choice words for its competition embedded in its bankruptcy papers; it accuses Walmart ($WMT) and Target ($TGT)(the "big box retailers") of slashing prices on toys and using toys as a loss leader to get bodies in doors; it further notes that "retailers such as Amazon are not concerned with making a profit at this juncture, rendering their pricing model impossible to compete with..." ($AMZN). Yikes. 
    • Experiential Retail. The company intends to invest in the "shopping experience" which will include (i) interactive spaces with rooms to use for parties, (ii) live product demonstrations put on by trained employees, and (iii) the freedom for employees to remove product from boxes to let kids play with the latest toys. And...wait for it...AUGMENTED REALITY. Boom. Toysrus.ar and Toysrus.ai here we come. 
  • Jurisdiction: E.D. of Virginia (Judge Phillips)
  • Capital Structure: see below     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Jamie Sprayragen, Anup Sathy, Edward Sassower, Chad Husnick, Joshua Sussberg, Robert Britton, Emily Geier) & (local) Kutak Rock LLP (Michael A. Condyles, 
      Peter J. Barrett, Jeremy S. Williams) & (Canadian counsel) Goodmans LLP
    • Legal to the Independent Board of Directors: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Jeffrey Stegenga, Jonathan Goulding, Tom Behnke, Cari Turner, Jim Grover, Arjun Lal, Doug Lewandowski, Bobby Hoernschemeyer, Scott Safron, Kara Harmon, Nick Cherry, Adam Fialkowski)
    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Co., LLC (David Kurtz)
    • Real Estate Consultant: A&G Realty Partners LLC (Andrew Graiser)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Communications Consultant: Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
  • Other Parties in Interest:
  • ABL/FILO DIP Admin Agent: JPMorgan Chase Bank NA
    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Heubner, Brian Resnick, Eli Vonnegut, Veerle Roovers) & (local) Hunton & Williams LLP (Tyler Brown, Henry (Toby) Long III, Justin Paget)
  • DIP Admin Agent (Toys DE Inc). NexBank SSB & Ad Hoc Group of B-4 Lenders (Angelo Gordon & Co LP; Franklin Mutual Advisors LLC, HPS Investment Partners LLC, Marathon Asset Management LP, Redwood Capital Management LLC, Roystone Capital Management LP, and Solus Alternative Asset Management LP)
    • Legal: Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (Joshua Feltman, Emil Kleinhaus, Neil Chatani) & (local) McGuireWoods LLP (Dion Hayes, Sarah Bohm, Douglas Foley)
  • Ad Hoc Group of Taj Noteholders.
    • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Brian Hermann, Samuel Lovett, Kellie Cairns) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP (Christopher Jones, Jennifer Wuebker)
  • Steering Committee of B-2 and B-3 Lenders (American Money Management, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Ellington Management Group LLC, First Trust Advisors L.P., MJX Asset Management LLC, Pacific Coast Bankers Bank, Par-Four Investment Management LLC, Sound Point Capital Management, Taconic Capital Advisors LP).
    • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Michael Messersmith, D. Tyler Nurnberg, Sarah Gryll, Rosa Evergreen)
  • 12% ’21 Senior Secured Notes Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust, National Association.
    • Legal: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (Todd Meyers, David Posner, Gianfranco Finizio) & (local) ThompsonMcMullan PC (David Ruby, William Prince IV)
  • Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Paul Leake, Shana Elberg, George Howard) & (local) Troutman Sanders LLP (Jonathan Hauser)
    • Private Equity Sponsors: Bain Capital Private Equity LP, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. ($KKR), and Vornado Realty Trust ($VNO)
  • Large Creditor: Mattel Inc.
    • Legal: Jones Day (Richard Wynne, Erin Brady, Aaron Gober-Sims) & (local) Michael Wilson PLC (Michael Wilson)
  • Large Creditor: LEGO Systems Inc.
    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matthew Barr, Kelly DiBlasi) & (local) Walcott Rivers Gates (Cullen Speckhart)
  • Large Creditor: American Greetings Corporation.
    • Legal: Baker & Hosteler LLP (Benjamin Irwin, Eric Goodman)
  • Creditor: River Birch Capital
    • Legal: Andrews Kurth & Kenyon LLP (Paul Silverstein)
  • Creditor: Owl Creek Asset Management
    • Legal: Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP (Samantha Martin)
  • TRU Trust 2016-TOYS, Commercial Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2016-TOYS acting through Wells Fargo Bank NA
    • Legal: Dechert LLP (Allan Brilliant, Brian Greer, Stephen Wolpert, Humzah Soofi) & (local) Troutman Sanders LLP (Jonathan Hauser)
  • Trustee: Tru Taj DIP Notes (Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB)
    • Legal: Porter Hedges LLP (Eric English) & (local) Spotts Fain PC (James Donaldson)
  • Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Mattel Inc., Evenflo Company Inc., Simon Property Group, Euler Hermes North America Insurance Co., Veritiv Operating Company, Huffy Corporation, KIMCO Realty, The Bank of New York Mellon, LEGO Systems Inc.)
First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

Updated 10/5/17 11:40 am

New Chapter 11 Filing - EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Limited

EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Limited

  • 2/28/17 Recap: Some offshore blood here. The Houston-based deepwater subsea construction service company (which sounds pretty bada$$ btw) suffered from declining revenue and cash flow (read: declining demand), high costs and increasingly limited access to credit. Hence, bankruptcy. With the benefit of a $90mm dual-tranche DIP, the Company will sell its marine base in Texas and otherwise use bankruptcy to restructure the balance sheet.
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas
  • Capital Structure: $480mm secured debt & $175mm unsecured debt    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Skadden Arps (George Panagakis, Justin Winerman, Robert Fitzgerald) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Joshua Wolfshohl, Eric English, Brandon Tittle)
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name for docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Tranche A Lender (Subsea 7 Finance UK PLC)
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (Mark Liscio) & (local) Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Linda Martin)
    • Tranche B Lender (Chiyoda Corp.)
      • Legal: White & Case LLP (Roberto Kampfner) & (local) Haynes & Boone LLP (Charles Beckham Jr.)
    • DNB Bank ASA, Singapore Branch (agent and security trustee)
      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy (Dennis Dunne, Tyson Lomazow, Nelly Almeida) & (local) Haynes & Boone LLP (Bradley Foxman)

Updated 3/26/17